How To Make Soap With Milk

How to Make Milk Soap From Scratch (Palm Free)

This tutorial will teach you how make your own creamy, skin-nourishing milk soap!

Pretty much any cold process soap recipe that calls for water, can be made with milk, or a milk substitute instead. You just need to take a little different approach to make sure you don’t scorch the milk or overheat your soap.

If you’d like more in-depth cold process soap making information, tips on coloring soaps naturally and lots of palm-free recipes, along with a private Facebook group to ask me all of your soaping questions, check out my complete Natural Soap Making package.

3-ebooks

Things to know before you start:

  • Lye is a requirement when making homemade soap. It seems scary and dangerous, but I assure you – if you can safely and responsibly work with strong chemicals such as bleach and ammonia, then you can handle lye. (Read more about that topic HERE.) There are two types of lye: sodium hydroxide (for solid bars of soap) and potassium hydroxide (for liquid soaps.) I buy and recommend Essential Depot’s food grade lye from Amazon.
  • Safety equipment is a must. This includes: goggles to protect your eyes, long sleeves in case of accidental splashes, and gloves to keep your hands from coming in contact with lye solution or raw soap batter. When you first mix lye into water, milk, or other liquid, it can give off strong fumes. Work in a well ventilated area and try not to directly breathe them in. I work in my kitchen sink to catch spills and because it has a window right over it for fresh air. If you have chronic breathing issues or feel concerned about the fumes, consider using a full face ventilation mask. (Those little pollen or dust masks won’t cut it.)
  • All measurements are by weight, not volume. You need an accurate digital scale to make soap. Guessing or eyeballing could make you end up with soap that’s too slimy from not enough lye or too harsh from too much lye. I used THIS SCALE for years before it broke and then replaced it locally.
  • This is how I make milk soap. It’s not the one and only way though. There are other methods. If you see someone on the internet elsewhere doing things differently, it doesn’t mean that they or I are wrong in our method. The great thing about soap making is that there’s tons of room for individuality and different approaches!

 

homemade milk soap from scratch

For this tutorial, we’re going to use the following recipe:

Basic Milk Soap Recipe

Liquid & Lye Portion:

  • 10 ounces milk (try 9 oz if you want your soap to set up faster, or if using silicone molds)
  • 4.3 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)

Oils Portion (31 ounces total):

  • 22 ounces olive oil (71%)
  • 8 ounces coconut oil (26%)
  • 1 ounce castor oil (3%)

You can source oils from a variety of places including a local grocery store (use one with high turnover – old oils will make your soap more likely to go rancid faster), Mountain Rose Herbs, Bramble Berry, Nature’s Garden, Majestic Mountain Sage, and Amazon. There are other great online vendors not mentioned here; I just haven’t tried them all (yet!)

Milk type can be: cow, goat, coconut, rice, almond, and so forth. I use whole milk, since that’s what we drink, but you can use lower fat versions as well. When using milk substitutes, the less additives, the better.

Note: High olive oil soaps like this one sometimes take a little longer to set up and cure. Olive oil is a soft/hard oil. It starts off causing the soap to be on the softer side, but once it cures for an extended time, the bar will grow very hard, yet extremely gentle on your skin. You can reduce the amount of milk by an ounce or two, if you’d like to speed up the process. Reducing liquid is also helpful when using silicone molds.

 

Step 1: If you use a different recipe (or even one from this site), run it through a lye calculator to make sure the lye and oil amounts were typed in correctly. I like Majestic Mountain Sage’s one (HERE) best. For more detail on using lye calculators, read up on my post How To Make Any Soap Recipe Palm Free.

Step 2: In order to keep the sugars in milk from scorching, it needs to be icy cold or even frozen, before adding lye. I like to weigh out the amount of milk needed into a heat proof plastic pitcher and pop it in the freezer the day before I plan to make soap. You can also freeze your milk in ice cube trays or put it in the freezer until slushy.

soap equipment

Step 3: Assemble all of the ingredients, utensils, and safety gear that you’ll need. It’s helpful to jot yourself a step-by-step checklist, to refer to as you go.

Step 4: Prepare your mold. This recipe (31 ounces of oil) fits in any of the following molds:

  • Silicone Column Mold (from BrambleBerry) – when using silicone, decrease the amount of liquid a bit more and allow to stay in the mold a few extra days. You can also add 1 teaspoon of salt to the milk, before adding lye, to make the soap batter firm up faster in the mold.
  • 12 Bar Silicone Mold (also from BrambleBerry) – the recipe will fill about nine of the cavities. Same suggestions for silicone molds above, applies to this mold as well.
  • Wooden Mold – I use one homemade by my husband. Its inner dimensions are 8″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″. Wooden molds should always be lined with parchment or freezer paper, shiny side up.
  • Bread Loaf Pan – In a pinch, you can use a glass loaf pan, just like you’d use to bake bread in. (Don’t ever use aluminum or non-stick though, when making soap.) It too, must be lined with parchment or freezer paper, before using. If using a glass pan, place your soap in the refrigerator, instead of freezer for the first 24 hours.

Step 5: Pull out the milk you plan to use in your soap recipe. If it’s in the form of ice cubes or chilled/slushy liquid, weigh out the amount you need, into a heat proof plastic pitcher. If you already weighed and have a solidly frozen amount of milk in your pitcher, then move on to step 6.

Step 6: Wearing gloves and goggles, weigh out the lye (sodium hydroxide). You must use a digital scale for this part.

adding lye to frozen milk

Step 7: Pour the lye into your milk, just a sprinkle at a time. If your milk is frozen solid, you might need to add a tiny splash of water first to get it started, but the reaction of the lye with milk will quickly start melting everything, as you stir. Add the lye slowly, stirring constantly. It will take several minutes to do this – don’t rush this part. Make sure every bit of lye is dissolved. The milk might turn a bright yellow and smell a little weird. That’s okay and perfectly normal.

Set the lye and milk mixture aside while you measure out the oil portion of your recipe.

Step 8: In a stainless steel, heavy duty plastic, or enamel lined container/pot, combine the olive, coconut, and castor oil. (Remember, all measurements are by weight.) If it’s too solid to combine, briefly melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan until softened or liquified. Soap oils should be around 90 to 100 degrees F.

Step 9: Drizzle the lye mixture into the oils. Using a stick blender (immersion blender), like THIS ONE, begin stirring the oil and lye solution together. Alternate stirring with the motor on and then off. Don’t run the stick blender the entire time or you risk lots of air bubbles and possibly a false trace. It should take maybe four or five minutes until your soap reaches trace. (“Trace” means that soap batter is thick enough to hold an outline, or “tracing” when drizzled across the surface of itself.)

The following photo is what trace looks like:

Milk Soap At Trace

Once trace is reached, you can stir in essential oils for scent, colorants such as clays or botanicals, or add-ins like oatmeal, honey, and so forth. (I have more information on these in my Natural Soap Making ebook.)

Step 10: Working quickly, pour the fresh soap batter into your mold. When making soaps without milk, I often cover with a blanket and allow to sit undisturbed for around 24 hours. This allows the soap to go through gel phase. “Gel phase” means that the soap has heated up higher in the mold, than when you poured it. Gel phase brings out colorants and makes them “pop”, and some people like the final texture of the soap better.

milk soap in mold

However, milk soap that goes through gel phase may be darker and browner than milk soap that is not allowed to go through gel phase. If you’d like a whiter soap, place your mold in the refrigerator or freezer, for around 24 hours. This prevents gel phase. Once you’re removed it from the cold, it will still be soft and will need another 24 to 48 hours in the mold at room temperature.

The photo below shows two freshly unmolded bars of soap, both made using the same recipe as listed here and with whole cow’s milk. The soap on the left sat in a mold, uncovered and at room temperature for 24 hours while the soap on the right, was immediately placed in the freezer for 24 hours. Both soaps work great, the difference in the final, cured bar is mainly cosmetic.

With milk soap, remember: mold at room temperature = browner soap; mold in freezer = whiter soap. (Note: Over cure time, the brown bar lightened up a few shades, and the white bar turned more ivory toned.)

soap on left went through gel phase soap on right did not

 

Step 11: Unmold your soap and slice into bars. Allow the bars to cure in the open air, on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, for at least four to six weeks, rotating occasionally. Because of the higher amount of olive oil in this soap recipe, the longer you let it cure, the harder the final bar will be.

Step 12: Enjoy your soap! It makes a great gift for family and friends too!

 

Want more soap making inspiration? Be sure to sign up HERE for my newsletter, so you can get my latest soap ideas, herbal projects and other DIY recipes sent straight to your inbox each month!

You may also like:

Baby Carrot Soap | Oatmeal & Honey Soap | Honey & Dandelion Soap

baby carrot soap palm free recipe  Oatmeal & Honey Soap  Dandelion and Raw Honey Soap Recipe

This blog contains affiliate links to Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs and Bramble Berry. That means if you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but does help to support my blog and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you!

 

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201 Responses to How To Make Soap With Milk

  1. Could you use frozen breastmilk that your child won’t drink but don’t have enough to donate? Or do you think it would come out odd?

  2. Josie says:

    Can you use this recipe for Hot Process?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Josie! I’m just not sure. I would think that you’d need to add milk in at the end of hot process or you risk scorching it. But, I’ve not made milk soap using that method before, so can’t say if that would happen or not. Maybe someone more experienced with HP will see this and answer for us!

  3. Denise M. says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I am definitely trying this.

  4. Jenna says:

    This is a great tutorial. I have been wanting to make soap for a long time. We just got our milk cow so I will have plenty of milk to make soap with. :) I found this post through the Homestead Blog Hop #1. :) Thanks for linking up!

  5. Jan,

    Thanks for linking this on Homestead Blog Hop. I have saved this wonderful tutorial since we will be making soap next year with goats milk!

    Jen

  6. Margie says:

    I have powdered milk.
    Can it be used to make soap.
    If so would I just mix it with water like if I was making milk.I bought it for milk baths Thank You
    Margie

  7. ex army girl says:

    Dear Ms. Jan,

    Well, I have been reading through your website, albeit too slow for my satisfaction. **smiles sheepishly** I have a few questions. For this milk soap recipe, you mention using a glass bread pan & to specifically NOT use aluminum or Teflon. My question is if I use my good glass bread pan, does it then get relegated to soap making only? Or will a few runs through the dish washer be okay for future food use? Same with using a crock pot for making soap—if I run my crock through the dishwasher can I continue to use it for food, or will that be relegated to soap making only? I do realize you mention that this particular soap method was uncertain for crock pot use, but I thought of this question while writing the post…the way my memory is, figured I should ask while it was still an active thought….

    Anyway, thanks for this, as I have been wracking my brain for things that could be used as a mold for soap (drawer organizers are high on the list of possibles), although another site you recommended I believe, brushy mountain bee farm, has a complete wood mold kit with both a straight & wavy cutter for $20 right now—thinking I will grab that ASAP as most molds alone cost +$30 (that was the cheapest price I could find until this site) with the cutters going for $15-25 or more…. You’d think this stuff was made of solid gold or something.

    Thanks again for all the cool stuff you have taught me today.

    • Jan says:

      Hi ex army girl,

      I was reading through this post and noticed I missed your comment – I’m sorry about that!

      When using your good glass pan, it will always need to be lined with parchment or freezer paper first to prevent sticking. This keeps the soap from coming in contact with it, so I don’t see where it’s a problem. I use mine for making both soap and bread!

      I do use a separate crock pot for soap making, but that’s because I got a new one for Christmas ages back, and so had two to do so. I do know people that use the same one – I’m not sure how the raw soap/lye will do on the ceramic over time though.

      Drawer organizers sound like a good idea. You can also use milk cartons (tear off to unmold) or shoe boxes (lined with a trash bag)… The wooden molds can be costly up front. I’ve had my husband make some (with the thought to sell way back when I had my Etsy shop) and the pieces & wood needed surprisingly added up in cost, not to mention his time needed to make. Then shipping something so bulky & heavy… we calculated that the profit margin turns out to be pretty low on them. It’s a good one-time investment though – I’ve used the same few for well over a decade and they are still in excellent shape!

  8. Christine says:

    Hi jan. Made yr goats milk cold compressed soap.. All went well put in the freezer for 24 hours as yr receipe says as taking out and left for a while to find my soap still pretty soft. Please could u tell me where I have gone wrong as it’s my first time. Thank u in advanced.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Christine! Your soap is probably fine – I would give it several more days, just leave it in the mold as is, and then check back and see how it’s going. Because of the higher amount of olive oil, it will be soft for a while, but then grow a lot harder as the weeks of cure time pass. It always takes longer for me too than non-milk soaps that I let go through gel phase. Next time you make, you could also drop the amount of milk by an ounce or add something like sodium lactate or salt to the lye water (which will harden up your soap faster).

  9. Christine says:

    Hi jan thank u replying back to my mail u make some gorgeous stuff u sure have the gift I have also bought some of yr books will try what u have said. Thank u.

  10. Nel says:

    Jan,
    You are an excellent mentor! Thanks so much for all the great advice on soaping. It is very satisfying to make soap for my family.
    I have just found a source for goats milk.
    Can I use my wonderful wooden molds for goats milk soap. I am not fond of the plastic molds. Do you have to put the wooden molds in the freezer overnight and then in the frig for 24 hours? Or can I use the wooden molds and not cover them with blankets? What is the best way to use glass bread pans? Would you need to spray them with mineral oil so the soap would release? Can you add beeswax melted in a Tablespoon of shea butter at trace with goats milk soap to help it be harder? We have bees. I would love to use beeswax, honey and goats milk in my soaps.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Nel, You sure can use wooden molds for milk soap. You can try not covering them instead of the fridge – your soap might be a little darker, but it will still be good! Glass bread pans must be lined with parchment or freezer paper before use, just like a wooden mold. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult (or impossible) to unmold! And, yes, you can add beeswax to firm up your soap. When adding beeswax, it’s good to soap at a little higher temperatures though.

  11. Sasha Chong says:

    Good evening Jen and i do apologize for replying so late. I really appreciate your article on making soap with milk, the answer to a question I had posted to you a few months ago. Thank you for your assistance, I sincerely appreciate it. I hope both you and your family are all doing well. God’s Blessings

  12. Tina says:

    Do you have to use castor oil in this recipe? The nearest store to me is almost 100 miles away that is why I’m asking.

  13. Rhoda says:

    Will this soap eventually go rancid. I have made this and love it. Someone told me it won’t last as long as other soaps because of the milk content.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rhoda, I haven’t found that it goes rancid faster than any other homemade soap. I just grabbed and sniffed a plain milk soap bar (this exact recipe) I made around nine or ten months ago and it still smells great, with no DOS (dreaded orange spots)! I got a great tip from a lady that keeps her homemade soaps in the freezer to extend freshness in her high humidity area. I though that was a clever idea and plan to try that myself this summer!

      • Rhoda says:

        Thank you, keeping it in the freezer after it cures makes sense. Will do that, I live in a high humidity area in the summer. I bought your book, looking forward to making some of the recipes. Am giving the milk soap as Christmas gifts.

  14. Sorry if this was covered. I was in a hurry and scanned the article and comments. Have you made this particular recipe with potassium hydroxide before? Or only the sodium hydroxide? I am experimenting with making my own lye at home from wood ash and I would like to use it in this recipe. Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Brandon! Potassium hydroxide is usually used to make liquid soap while sodium hydroxide makes a hard bar of soap. (Or you can blend potassium hydroxide with sodium hydroxide & make a cream soap.) My understanding though, is that potash (‘lye’) made from wood ashes is actually potassium carbonate and not hydroxide?? and it makes a softer type of soap, unless you add salt or something at the end to firm it up. This milk soap recipe is calculated to be used with sodium hydroxide, so I’m just not sure how it will work with a homemade lye. You might have to find a specific recipe for it. I think it’s an amazing idea to make your own lye from wood ashes though and I’d love to do the same one day! I wish I could be more useful, but I hope that you have wonderful luck making your soap!

  15. Michele Richards says:

    I have to try one of these, but I have never seen lye on my island in the stores. Is there any soap recipe that does not have to use lye soap in it? Thanks so much for sharing your info. Gods Blessings for 2015 and beyond!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Michele, Thank you & I hope you have a wonderfully blessed 2015 as well! :) To make soap from scratch, you need a caustic substance (lye) that will transform the oils into soap. You can buy pre-made soap bases though, where the lye has already been handled and you just melt them and pour into molds. Are you able to order online from places like brambleberry.com? They have a wide selection and I believe they ship internationally.

  16. milissa says:

    1) can I just add any essential oils to this recipe or do I need to tweak the other oils at all??

    2) to make liquid soap do I just switch the lye but follow the same otherwise?

    3) how do you make color swirls??

    • Jan says:

      Hi Milissa!

      You can add all sorts of essential oils to this recipe and it won’t alter the amounts of lye needed. This is a great calculator that will help give you an idea of how much scent to add to your soap: http://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Fragrance-Calculator.aspx

      Liquid soap uses different recipes and oil ratios and potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide, so this recipe probably won’t work well for that purpose. You can find a good liquid soap tutorial over at HumbleBeeAndMe.com that I think will be helpful for you!

      The best place to learn about color swirls is over at the SoapQueen.com blog. She has videos and tutorials and all sorts of fun ideas. I also have her soap making book which is really great! Here is just one of her color swirl tutorials – there’s lots more on the site: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/taiwan-swirl/

  17. adriana says:

    I just tried to make this recipe and i couldnt get it to trace. I was mixing on and off with my hand blender for 40 minutes. My scale is accurate and i measured correctly. I started googling and it says your oils must be 110-120 degrees and the lye mixture has to be 85-100 degrees before mixing the oils and lye together. Is that correct?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Adriana – I’m sorry that happened! Are you using a stick blender (immersion blender) or a hand held mixer? A hand mixer will not work like a stick blender & will take much much longer – almost comparable to hand stirring. Those temperatures you list are great for regular soap, but milk soap has to stay cooler or it will overheat. Most soapers I know keep their milk soap making temps around room temperature or not much higher than 80, maybe up to 90, degrees. I always keep mine very cool. (Although, there are many ways and personal preferences of making soap – so my way isn’t the only way!) If you’re using a hand mixer instead of stick blender, then you may need to stir more. (As in maybe another hour or so, so you may want to swap to hand stirring to keep too much air from going into your soap.) Another thought, especially if you are using an immersion blender: was your lye clumpy when you measured it? If so, then the amount will be thrown off since that signifies that it has already absorbed some moisture sometime in storage. It’s possible that your lye may be past its prime and not working properly. Here’s a thread I found where someone had a similar problem (using a hand mixer) and mentioned putting the soap in their crockpot to get it to finally trace: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=42916 (10th comment down) One final thought – did you add any fragrance oils? Sometimes, certain types make things go a little wonky. I have to hop off and cook dinner, but if I think of another idea/solution, I’ll pop back on and let you know!

  18. Nancy says:

    I am not into soap making, but your milk soap sounds wonderful!! Do you sell it?

  19. Mary Geno says:

    I love your soap recipes, especially the “Garden Mint” one. I’ve tweaked it and used it for just about every soap I make with essential oil leaving out the mint of course. I make goat milk soap with canned goat milk with this recipe. it comes out beautiful and I use micas for color. all my soap is gelled with no discoloration, especially if you use TD. thanks for all your lovely ideas and recipes. you have been an inspiration to me.

  20. Christy says:

    Hi Jan-
    Today was my first attempt at making goats milk soap, and am not sure how it’s going to turn out as of yet. I have a question though, when adding the lye to the goats milk, it took forever for it to heat up, it melted the frozen slush, but just never came up in heat (40*)
    until I sprinkled a little more lye to bring temp up to 80*- what would cause this?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Christy, I hope you find today that your soap turned out okay! I have two thoughts – did you make sure that you stir, stir, stirred the lye off of the bottom of the mixing container? It’s so hard to see when you’re dealing with milk, because of its cloudiness, but sometimes some lye gets left on the bottom and doesn’t react with the liquid. Another idea is that perhaps your lye was past its prime. Did it have any lumps or clumps in it at all? Were you working in a cold room? You can also partially freeze your goat’s milk, so it’s more of slush. I like to work with solid frozen, but I also work in a really warm house, heated by a wood stove, so it’s probably a little warmer than most.

  21. Emily says:

    Hi, I am going to try to get into soap making, so I may have a fairly obvious question. Can you make this type of soap and pour it into a decorative soap mold that is plastic or silicon?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Emily, You can – though cold process soap may stick in the more intricate ones. (Those usually do best with melt and pour.) If it’s a basic shape, like a heart or pumpkin or something, then yes, definitely so. If you find that it wants to stick a bit in the mold, you can try leaving it in a few extra days and then popping it in the freezer for several hours to help release.

  22. karen says:

    hello, just getting into making goat milk soap.. my questiion is, can one use goat milk that is still sort of tasty..but has separated a little due to first freezing in a frost free freezer??? I did not know that milk the first 24 hours in a frost free freezer would cause a separation in the milk.. leaving me with lots of goat milk…

  23. Erin says:

    Wondering if this can be made in bulk for a soap base for future use? I see recipes calling for goats milk soap base….mixed with this or that after being melted down….and if so, would standard ice cube trays yield the size of cube that corresponds with goats milk soap base cubes called for?

  24. Conni says:

    Would canned goats milk be ok to use? Can’t get fresh here.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Conni, Somewhere here in the comments on the blog, someone mentioned using canned goat’s milk in all of their soaps. So, it seems to me it should work just fine!

  25. Julie says:

    How long will the bars of soap, made out of raw cow’s milk, keep?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Julie, From my experience, milk soaps last about as long as regular soaps. The high alkalinity of the bars keeps the milk from spoiling or molding. Over time, the oils in all soaps will eventually become rancid – how long depends on how fresh the oils were to start with and how high it’s superfatted (extra oils mean extra moisture, but tend to spoil faster). As long as your soap smells good and doesn’t have DOS (dreaded orange spots – indicating rancidity) on it, it’s good to go!

  26. pea malimban says:

    Hi can I use old and spoiled milk in the fridge and mix it up with a regular bath soap…can I combine them together in the pan until they melt together?pls answer me now…

  27. John Martins says:

    Does the kind of milk matter much?

    • Jan says:

      Hi John, It shouldn’t matter too much – you want to avoid those kinds with many chemical additives, since anything extra could throw a monkey wrench in the works. All in all though, I’ve had good success with every type of milk I’ve tried to date.

  28. Susanne says:

    Hi Jan
    I look forward to making soap with milk!
    But as I am very allergic to anything coconut, can I substitute the coconutoil with more oliveoil or perhaps rapeseedoil?
    Thank’s for the tutorial :-)
    Susanne (Denmark)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Susanne! An excellent substitute for coconut oil is babassu oil. You may be able to find it online, but I’m not sure of availability in Denmark. However, you could substitute more olive oil and just end up with an “almost castile” type bar. It will start off very soft though and you’ll need to let it cure longer (6 weeks or more). Castile soap lasts a long time once it cures and even though it’s naturally low in bubbles, the castor oil and sugars in the milk should help boost the lather some. So, I think it’s worth a try!

      I’d go with:
      Liquid & Lye Portion:
      11 ounces milk
      3.85 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
      Oils Portion (30 ounces total):
      28 ounces olive oil (93%)
      2 ounce castor oil (7%)

      Do you have any access to shea or cocoa butter? That could be used for part of the coconut oil for hardness and we can recalculate from there, if you’d like! :)

  29. Kathy says:

    I found that making goat’s milk soap, my soap begins gel phase if I don’t put my silicone loaf pan in the freezer before molding. This avoids a circle in the middle of my bars.

  30. Talaye says:

    Hi! I made one batch so far and it seems awesome. I would like to do another batch today but only have 18.8 oz of olive oil left. I do have some safflower or canola or more coconut oil. Could I make up the difference with any of these?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Talaye, I’m glad you like the recipe! You can use more canola oil instead of olive. It might make it a little slower to reach trace (requiring more stir time), but should work fine otherwise! I just double checked the math through a lye calculator and you can use the same amount of lye too.

  31. Melanie says:

    Hello, I realize this is an older post, which I read and saved, yet never left a comment. I found it today and intend to get started.

    I’ve been saving this formula to try, goat milk soap is my absolute favorite (yogurt soap a close second) and when springtime arrives and the goats in my area start kidding, there is a lot of great milk available (I don’t have my own goats – yet). Each spring, I go on a goat milk soap making frenzy! I’m excited to try your formula since I’ve never used Castor oil in milk soap. Exciting!

    As always, thanks for sharing. Have a lovely day!

  32. JESSICA NICHOLS says:

    1st batch of soap ever in the freezer now. So excited to see how it turns out! I didn’t have the castor oil so I used just a bit more olive oil. Hopefully it sets up right. Love the info you’re providing! Found you over on Fresh Eggs Daily!!!

    • Jan says:

      Yay! I hope it turned out well for you! Castor oil adds a bit of a boost to lather, but you can leave it out and use olive oil instead. (With the same amount of lye.)

  33. DANIEL DIONIZ WABARE says:

    Hi i like the recipe and am glad to inform you that i have made two batches and now my family are enjoying the milk soap. congratulation to you. welcome to Tanzania.

  34. Tami says:

    Hi. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge on your website!!! I am writing you from an economically disadvantaged area of Tunisia, where I hope to (maybe!!) start a very small project for women to make goat’s milk soap for local sales and (maybe!!) exporting! I was able to buy the milk from a sweet old lady, and my first batch is cooling now. I’m hoping we can eventually use goats’ hair to make the yarn for packaging, giving women a chance to work from home and sell me the yarn. Farmers here find goats very annoying (less docile than sheep!), but I’m hoping that if we get them a good price for milk and yarn, then it will be more than worth it for them! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience!

  35. Jo-Anne says:

    Hi Jan
    Just read your tutorial and was wondering if you could substitute ghee or butter for the olive oil portion
    Manny thanks.

  36. Zoe says:

    Do I need to cover the mould when I refrigerate it?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Zoe! It depends on the state of my refrigerator whether I do or not – if it’s crowded & I’m afraid someone will knock something into my soap, I use a single sheet of wax paper. Otherwise, I just leave it uncovered.

  37. Tanya says:

    Hi Jan. Love your website and very keen to start to making my first goat milk soap batch, but … have read myself silly regarding raw milk and hope you may have the answer!!!
    Is there a need to pasteurize the goat milk prior to freezing? I have already frozen over 80 bags of raw milk at 20oz and would love to be able to use these.
    Many thanks..(way down under in Tasmania, Australia)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Tanya! You don’t need to pasteurize the milk first. I learned this from the lady I bought my first goats from several years ago. She would freeze her extra milk raw for soap making and then also to have on hand in case she ever needed an emergency bottle feeding for a kid. It works great! Good luck with your soap making ventures! :)

  38. Natalie says:

    After weeks of researching and preparing I finally made soap for the first time last night using this recipe and your tutorial to walk me through it! It turned out great and I am so excited! Thank you so much

  39. Kathy says:

    Hi Jan, Do you have any ideas on making my soap last longer than two weeks? I let it cure for six weeks. That didn’t help. I cut down on the milk and added more lye and that didn’t help. I use coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, and palm oil.
    Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Kathy! Normally, I would say to try and add a hard oil to your soap (like cocoa butter), but since you used palm that would probably do even better in the hardness department. The long cure & less liquid all sound like good ideas too.
      Have you tried sodium lactate?
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Sodium-Lactate-P5127.aspx
      I’ve used salt before in its place, since I didn’t have any sodium lactate on hand, and I do think it helps. (I just always forget to add it or I’d probably put it in most all of my recipes that have a lot of soft oils!)
      I use 1 tsp salt for batches with around 28 to 30 ounces of oil in them.
      Another thought is to make sure you have a soap dish that drains well, but I bet you probably already got that covered!
      You could also try upping the amount of coconut and palm and decreasing olive. How much castor oil is in the recipe? I LOVE castor oil in soap, but usually go around 5 to 10% max unless it’s a shampoo bar.
      I hope one of those ideas will help and that you’re able to lock down the perfect recipe for you!

  40. Carmen says:

    Hi, you are so nice explaning and answering…I am a hot process girl ,can this be done in hp? Reading your instructions gave me the urge to try to do this…and also do you have a recommended fragrance or no fragrance at all.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Carmen! You sure can do this HP. I haven’t written up an article about it yet (it’s on my list though!), but here’s two sites with some tips on hot processing with milk:
      https://outlawfarmer.wordpress.com/soap-n-things/
      http://home.windstream.net/familyjeans/CPHP.html
      Cold process soap making is pretty much hot process minus the cooking step. So, if you’ve been hot processing, you’ve already done the steps needed for cold process and this should be a breeze for you! :)

    • Jan says:

      Oops forgot to answer about fragrance! I like peppermint essential oil and lemongrass essential oil in soap. Lavender would be good too. Or, you can leave them plain. Totally up to your personal preference! Bramble Berry has a wonderful tool for figuring out how much to use:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Fragrance-Calculator.aspx

      • Carmen says:

        Thx for answering. It is so nice of you to share ,I’m really motivated to do this. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now…after I fill the mold ,I’m gonna use wood,should I place it in the refrigerator so it turns out lighter in color or the hp alone will yield a darker soap?

        • Jan says:

          Hi Carmen! You won’t need to cool it; the hot process version will result in a browner soap, no matter what. Good luck with your batch of soap – let me know how it goes! :)

  41. Kelly E says:

    Hi Jan,
    I have made this recipe twice this week and it has taken me approx 2 hours to get a faint trace using a hand mixer. The first night I got frustrated and warmed the mixture up after doing some troubleshooting online and it seemed to thicken a bit easier. Tonight I put my pot in an ice bath to cool the mixture down and it still hasn’t thickened beyond a very faint trace. What could I be doing wrong???

    • Jan says:

      Hi Kelly!
      Are you using a hand mixer that looks like this:
      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81tJBfFVoPL._SL1500_.jpg
      or a stick/immersion blender:
      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412uEM8BvLL._SY606_.jpg
      A hand mixer, like the first one, isn’t going to speed up soap trace like an immersion blender. With the immersion blender it should take no more than 10 minutes (maybe on the rare occasion 12 minutes) to reach trace, but a hand mixer on a high olive oil soap like this one is going to be s-l-o-w like stirring by hand. (Which would take hours.)
      If you’re using the right equipment though, my next thought is to check your lye. Can you hear clumps in it, when you shake the bottle? If so, moisture has gotten in somehow and it won’t measure correctly. You could try with a new bottle and see how it does. Also make sure that it’s completely dissolved into the milk and none is left on the bottom of the container.
      You could also try making your soap at higher temperatures than I do. Warm your oils up to a higher temperature (about 100 to 110 degrees F perhaps) and maybe start with your milk slushy instead of frozen solid. The cold is intended to keep the milk from scorching and turning brown, but it’s better to have a slightly tan bar than one that won’t trace nicely for you.
      You can also reduce the amount of liquid in order to get to a faster trace. Try using 10 ounces of milk instead of 12.
      I’m so sorry that it’s giving you problems! I know how frustrating that can be. I hope one of those ideas helps!

  42. Kathy says:

    Hi Jan,
    Thanks for your quick response regarding my milk soap that doesn’t last. My recipe calls for 5% castor, 30% coconut, 47% olive and 18% palm oil. How much do you think I should reduce the olive oil? I will also try adding the salt.
    Thanks again,
    Kathy

  43. Kathy says:

    Thanks so much for your help. I will be trying this recipe soon. I love your website!

  44. Nikki says:

    I haven’t received my download that I ordered. I paid through paypal? Natural Soap Making: Cold Process Soap Basics & Recipes….

    • Jan says:

      Hi Nikki, I’m so sorry about that! Did you check your spam folder? I’ll email you right now with a new link. The email will come from honeybeehillfarm @ gmail.com
      I apologize again and will talk with you more via email shortly. Thanks! Jan

    • Jan says:

      Hi again Nikki! I just sent a link for the book to your email address. If that doesn’t work, I can also mail it as an attachment. Please let me know if you don’t get it. Thanks! :)

  45. Joyce says:

    Hi, may I know can I use electric mixer instead of stick blender?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Joyce! An electric mixer doesn’t work in the same way as a stick blender. It tends to whip air in and it won’t speed up things like a stick blender does. I’ve had some feedback from a few people that used an electric mixer instead and it always seems like they don’t ever reach trace so their soap doesn’t set up in the mold. I think that’s because they don’t realize how much longer the stirring will take. If you don’t have a stick blender, you can hand stir the recipe. It may take an hour, or longer though, to reach trace. (But it eventually should!) :)

  46. Casey Shelton says:

    OK Miss farm wife I love your website and I love your recipes, but my soap never reaches trace in the time you say it should…why?

    • Hi Casey, I’m happy you like the site and recipes! To help me troubleshoot a bit – How long does your soap usually take to reach trace? Are you mixing at lower temperatures? (Higher temps will reach trace together faster, lower temps more slowly.) Are you using an immersion (stick) blender that looks pretty much like this: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31MDJZQP5XL._SY355_.jpg Canola oil tends to slow down trace, are you using any in your recipes? (I’ve heard that store brand olive oils are often cut with canola, which may or may not be a factor.) You could try decreasing water too. I like to figure my recipes a little on the lower water side so they’ll mix up faster and firm up faster in the mold. So, perhaps drop 1/2 ounce or so of water/liquid next batch and see how it goes. Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head and I hope one helps! :)

  47. Connie says:

    Hello! Very new to soap making…Goats Milk is my favorite soap so I tried your recipe today!! Hoping it turns out! Thanx so much for all your great instruction!! I am thinking this will become one of my favs!!! Happy Soaping All!!

  48. Rachel says:

    Hi Jan,

    I been using fresh goat milk and fresh herbs, my soap look darker. When I Unmold it, my soap a bit oily . I’m still waiting my soap cure but I still can smell the lye in my soap. Is fresh goat milk too much fats ? Should I reduce the oil or my fresh goat milk add a bit water ? I’m still new in making soap but I make few batch already. I’m making yogurt soap it’s great. Just the fresh goat milk have a bit problem. I got 1 batch soap not trace. Can I use crockpot to rescue my soap ??? ? What should I do ?

    • Hi Rachel! Sorry to hear that the goat’s milk soap is giving you some trouble! You sure can rescue your soap using a crock pot – here’s a great link to tell you how:
      http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/hot-process-hero-2/
      You could try diluting your goat’s milk with some water, or it’s possible that it’s getting a little bit too chilled. You could try soaping at a little bit higher temperature.
      Also, make sure that the lye is completely dissolved in the milk – this might take up to five minutes of stirring and adding a little bit at a time. Sometimes, a layer of lye settles on the bottom and doesn’t dissolve into the milk properly and that can cause problems too.
      What percentage of superfat are you using? Maybe you could try to notch it down to 5%? If you share your recipe here, or a breakdown of the oils & amount of lye you’re using, I can take a look at it and see if anything pops out that might can help you further. :)

  49. Jessica Foster says:

    Thanks for the great explanation and the picture of the two bars of soap to show the impact of gel phase. If we are going to let the soap go through gel phase, then do we have to add the lye slowly to the milk? It would seem that it is all going to heat up anyway. Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica! It’s not as critical to add it slowly to prevent overheating, but it’s still a good idea to make sure it’s really dissolved. I’ve dumped a whole bunch of lye in before and had it immediately settle into a hard clump, stuck to the bottom of my container. It was quite a pain to get it loosened up and mixed in without causing splashes! So, I’m probably a little over-conservative on how slow I mix it in now. :)

  50. Cathy says:

    I have a wonderful pomegranate tree producing fruit right now, how can I add seeds/juice to this soap recipe?

  51. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Jan,
    Just signed up for your newsletter as I’m blown away with all the free advice and mentoring you give. We have a chambre d’hôte/B&B here in SW France and I have been making soaps for my guests to try and buy along with selling at the Xmas markets. But I’ve been using the M&P method which doesn’t really give me what I’m looking for so I’m turning now to cold press soaps for the very first time and I just love this milk soap recipe. Next problem is where to source the ingredients! For any one living in France that needs to source everything for soap making (excluding the lye) I recommend aroma-zone for its beautiful bio products. I’m off to our local quincaillerie (hard ware store) today as I want my soaps to be cured and ready for Xmas! Wish me luck Bon journee a toys!

  52. Jene says:

    Hi jan ,as u mention to get a white color bm soap ,need to put the soap in the fridge to be cute and harden ..
    Can I cover it in a box and put in the fridge ? Cause afraid the smell in the fridge will influence the bm soap

  53. Anne says:

    Hi Jan,

    You are so generous with your knowledge!! Gearing up to do this for the first time. Two questions so far:
    ~In Step 2, you use a “heat proof plastic pitcher.” Are there any other container types that would work (stainless, Pyrex, etc.)?
    ~How many ounces does this soap recipe make? (needed for Brambleberry fragrance calculator) Sorry if I just missed this!

    • Hi Anne!
      1.) You can use stainless steel instead, just watch out for it heating up. In the past, I used pyrex (and experts like SoapQueen.com still do) with excellent results. I got several comments though from people who had glass shatter on them – over time, the lye etches and weakens the inside of the container. I just felt it safer not to recommend it any longer, on my site.
      2.) To figure out how many ounces a soap recipe makes, add together the lye, water and oil weights. So, 47.3 oz for this recipe, though I always round the lye up for simplicity’s sake and would just say 48 oz (3 lbs).
      Good luck making your soap! :)

  54. Tena says:

    HI Jan,

    I finally built my nerves up to make true homemade soap with lye! I was so afraid of it but it not that bad just as long as i mix it outside. I followed your recipe but a adjusted it to fit a 3 lbs silicone mold. it came out fine and i froze it for 24 hrs like you said. I made the soap on Tuesday pulled it out for room temp Wednesday night. Today is Saturday and its soft. it doesn’t lose its shape but it’s too soft to manipulate to come out of the mold. how long do i leave it in the mold? it’s been in the mold for 5 days. i can pull the mold back a little bit but it’s not like when i use MP. it look great with my design on top but it’s not coming out of that mold. HELP!!!

    • Hi Tena, Hooray for making your soap!! :) Milk soap that doesn’t go through gel phase tends to be a little soft at first AND palm-free soaps often start off soft too AND some silicone molds are famous for holding moisture and being harder to unmold. So, you have three factors going on there. One thing you could do, is pop the mold back in the freezer just long enough to firm back up the soap, then carefully unmold it so that it can cure/firm up faster in the open air. Now that you know your mold tends to hold in moisture, you might want to reduce the amount of liquid in your next recipes by around 1 ounce, so it sets up faster. You could also try adding sodium lactate, since that’s supposed to help with mold release: http://www.brambleberry.com/Sodium-Lactate-P5127.aspx or try this tip that uses regular salt: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/tipstricks/qt/qtsalt.htm
      It sound like you did everything right though and your soap should cure to a nice hard bar after 5 or 6 weeks!

  55. Jessica says:

    Thanks for all of the wonderful info! I’m getting up the courage to try the milk soap soon. Question…can you add things like oatmeal, herbs, honey, lemon, coffee grounds, etc all at trace? Are there extra ingredients that should not be added? Maybe you have a website that could answer my questions. I would like to eventually experiment with additives from the garden and wonder if it will work. Are there certain measurements for additives, or do you just eyeball it? Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica! You sure can add all of those things at trace, except I’d watch lemon since soap is very alkaline and mixing in an acid doesn’t usually react well. When I started making soap, there were hardly any websites and books on the topic, so I had to guess on how much (usually I start with half a tablespoon of something new and see how it works.)
      Now though there are so many great resources out there and so many wonderful soap makers sharing their hard earned knowledge online.
      If you have some specific items you’re curious about, try phrasing them in a search like this:
      https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+much+oatmeal+to+add+to+a+5+lb+soap+batch
      (And I just guessed on 5 lb batch since those are more common than my 2 1/2 lb batches but you could half the amount, if needed. You could also search ‘how much oatmeal to add to cold process soap’ or something like that.)
      The first result I get from that search is here:
      http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=20995
      and it is very helpful! (Forums are great sources of info!)
      You could do a search on every ingredient that you wonder about and you’ll pick up tons of helpful tips along the way.
      Another thing I like to do, is look up an ingredient on a soap making supply site and they often give tips for how much to use.
      So, if you look at Bramble Berry at their additives category:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Additives-C416.aspx
      You might spot annatto seed and be curious about it.
      Clicking on it, the description tells you:
      “Usage rate is 1 tsp. of seeds in 16 oz. of oil to get a nice pale yellow. To get a darker orange color, use 4 tsp. in 32 oz. After infusing for a full week, use this oil as your base oil in your soap recipe to achieve the color desired.”
      My best tip for incorporating additives from the garden is to make sure they’re dry and finely powdered. Even then, most botanicals will turn brown or black when mixed in the soap batter. Lavender buds can be sprinkled on top and remain purple for a while, but when mixed into soap tends to get grayish and yucky looking over time. (Same with rose petals.) Calendula is one of the rare ones that will hold the yellow color well. You can also use herbal teas instead of regular water to impart some benefits and sometimes color.
      I hope you have fun making soap and experimenting with all of the fun options out there! :)

  56. Kanika says:

    I just realized that I doubled the recipe but didn’t double the milk. :-/ The soap set up fine and I’m going to slice it tomorrow. Will it still be soap or will it be something weird? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Kanika! I drop the fluid amount in my soaps quite a bit sometimes (especially if using a silicone mold) and the only thing I notice is that it sets up and unmolds a whole lot faster. How does your soap look now? If it looks good and isn’t crumbly, then I think it should be okay!

  57. Victoria says:

    Hi Jan,

    I followed your recipe and made my 1st batch last night. It looks awesome! Thanks a lot! But I got one question. When I browse through other recipes online, most of them mention about the temperatures of both the lye water and the oil mixtures, mix them when they reach a certain degree. However you didn’t mention about this. I am wondering if the temp makes any difference. Thanks!

    • Hi Victoria, Hooray for making your first batch! :) Temperature is a very subjective thing. Some soap makers like to work with temperatures that I would consider hot (around 120 to 130 degrees F) while I like to work cooler, with temperatures somewhere in the ballpark area around 90 to 110 degrees F (lye & oil). This could just work better for me, because I have a naturally hot house (no central air in summer & a hot woodstove in winter). I have to confess that I’ve made so many batches of soap now, that I don’t actually check the temperature, unless I know I need to for an article! Here’s a good writeup on it by the Soap Queen that you may enjoy reading: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/back-to-basics-how-temperature-affects-cold-process-soap/

      • Victoria says:

        Hi Jan. I used my first bar yesterday. It lathers well but I thought it would leave my skin moisturized and smooth, rather I felt a little bit dry after the use. what is the problem?

        • Hi Victoria! Since you made your soap in the beginning of October, it should definitely be cured enough. There are a couple of ideas I can think of – first, some people are sensitive to anything but a small amount of coconut oil in their soap. Coconut oil is very cleansing. Usually, a high superfat (plus in this case, the bonus milk fat) helps offset this, but if you have really sensitive skin, you might need to reduce coconut oil in your recipes to 15% or less. (Or try using babassu oil as a substitute) Second idea: it may be the milk itself. For many years, I couldn’t handle milk soaps and found them drying too. I was super allergic to milk as a kid, but had outgrown it, but any milk soap or goat’s milk lotion still didn’t do well on my skin. Only in the last few years have I been able to use these products, but I still like the feel of non-milk soap on my skin more. Third idea – is if your soap is lye-heavy. I feel though that you probably measured your lye accurately, so this one is pretty unlikely. Have you tried making a non-milk recipe soap before? How did that do on your skin?

  58. sarah says:

    I was wondering if you can use dried lavender in milk soaps. I heard somewhere that the milk caused the dried lavender to brown. Have you experimented with this?
    Thank, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah! Yes, I sure have experimented with using dried lavender buds in soap. Sadly, they do turn brownish-gray, when mixed into any type of soap batter (milk or regular). You can sprinkle them on top though, right after pouring into the mold.

  59. Tanya says:

    I just made my very first batch of soap today using this recipe. It’s in the freezer now and I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out! Was a lot easier than I first thought and I’m excited!

    I scented this batch with lavender….

    I have plans to try more of your recipes!! Great website and very informative. :)

  60. Sheryl says:

    I’ve made soap before but it’s been years. I’m totally out now & boy has soap making come a long ways. LOL The classes I took we used drano which I still have. But now they recommend pure lye. We also used tallow we rendered down. Now I have an abundance of milk & thought I’d like to make milk soap. I’m having some really dry skin issues. This soap posted sounded pretty good. Upon my researches it says coconut oil isn’t the best for super dry skin. Am I reading that correctly? Your help would be greatly appreciated. I follow you on FB as well. TIA

    • Sheryl says:

      BTW I just bought a milk sea salt soap that I really like.

    • Hi Sheryl! Too much coconut oil, applied directly to your skin, can be drying for some skin types. I have rather dry and somewhat sensitive skin (along with a few other family members who have the same) and can’t handle a lot of plain coconut oil, when used as a moisturizer. However, we all do well with it in the amounts that I list in my soap recipes. Coconut oil is really helpful for adding hardness to your bars and also great lather, so if you’re not directly allergic to it, it’s recommended to use at least some in almost all soap recipes. If you used coconut oil in your old soap recipes, then you’re probably okay with the amount in these. One thing though that works really well as a substitute for coconut is babassu oil (you can find it on Amazon), but it’s a lot costlier. I superfat most of my soaps at 6% (sometimes 5%), but you could notch the superfat up higher. Also, the fats in milk will make your soap more moisturizing than plain. I love the creamy, nourising feel milk gives! As a final idea – you could make an almost castile soap (bastille soap). Here’s one recipe: http://www.bulkherbstore.com/blog/2015/07/how-to-make-easy-cold-processed-lavender-soap/ and you could just use frozen milk in place of water (for this and most any other recipe you find online that you like.) Happy Soap Making! :)

  61. Molly says:

    About how many cups of liquid soap does this make before it is put in the mould?

    • Hi Molly! I’m afraid I’m not sure – that’s something I haven’t thought about measuring before.
      Just in case – if you want to know how big of a mold to use, the recipe is
      31 oz oil + 12 oz milk + 4 oz lye = 47 oz soap, which is almost 3 pounds of soap.

  62. Candace says:

    I accidentally put the essential oils in with the other oils before mixing the milk/lye mixture, do I need to throw this mixture away? And start over or is it okay.

    • Hi Candace! I’ve heard of people that like to put fragrance oils in with the other oils first, so it should be the same thing. The only thing to look for, is that some essential oils (and fragrance oils) will make your soap reach trace a lot faster. So, that’s why we usually add them in at the end when you can mix real fast and then pour. But, it should be fine the way you did it too!

  63. Anna says:

    Should I cover the mold while it is in the freezer?

  64. Cyndy says:

    Hi, Jan. Found your milk soap recipe and had to try it. You have great directions. Thank you. I used coconut milk and everything went amazingly well. Popped it into the fridge, waited 24 hours, then removed from fridge, let sit on counter another 12 hours. I unmolded it (looked perfect ). Went to cut it and it crumbled. It is also oily on the bottom of the loaf. Did I not wait long enough before I cut it? I’m letting it sit another day or two, out of the mold. Think that prevent future crumbling? Thanks again for the amazing recipe.

    • Hi Cyndy! I’m sorry that I’m just now seeing this message – I wasn’t online much the last couple of weeks and didn’t get to comments as quickly as I had hoped!
      Coconut milk makes a wonderful soap, so that was a great choice! How does your soap look now?
      When your soap doesn’t go through gel phase, it will stay soft and sticky for quite a while longer. You probably want to keep it in the mold longer than 12 hours – perhaps up to a few extra days. Then, make sure it’s fully firmed before cutting.
      I have ran into an oily layer on the bottom of the loaf of soap before though and after making a few similar batches later, finally pinpointed that I had gotten a defective bottle of lye.
      If your soap went ahead and firmed up nicely, then you should be good to go. But, if not – let me know and we’ll try to troubleshoot more!

  65. Molly says:

    I made two batches today, each with a different scent. I put one scent in the freezer and left one on the counter. After a few hours, they were both the same. Is that normal or did I do something wrong?

    • Hi Molly, That was a very interesting experiment! Was the scent the same or the appearance? If appearance, then my first thought is that you did an excellent job of keeping your milk and lye solution really cool so it wouldn’t brown. Was the room that you left one in very cool? If you get a chance, I’d love an update on how they’re doing for you now that they’ve set up and been unmolded! :)

  66. Cyndy says:

    Hi Jan. Thanks for the reply. Soap looks excellent now. Have made 12 batches and they all came out fine. Found out if I unmolded them and let them set for 3-4 days, they cut without drag marks and no crumbs. Have already tried the soap I made a few weeks ago, and can’t tell you how silky skin feels. Soap is still soft but couldn’t resist. Kudos to you!!!!

  67. Mona says:

    Hello
    My name is MONA from IRAN.
    Me and my brother make the milk soap from your recipe .
    It’s contains from : Milk , Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil and Sodium hydroxide
    Now we have a problem with this soap, It’s too oily and when use it, scorch skin.
    Of course it smells too bad!
    What’s our mistake?
    If you can, answer to our question.
    Thanks a lot Dear.

    • Hi Mona! I’m so sorry to hear about your soap! It sounds like you had the ingredients all right. I have a few questions for you that might help us troubleshoot:
      How did you measure out your lye? Did you use a digital scale? (Lye and oil both need to be measured very precisely by weight for soap making.)
      Did you freeze the milk before adding the lye? The smell usually comes when the milk gets too hot. It will turn a shade of orange and smell. That does tend to fade away after it cures though.
      Have you let your soap cure for at least 4 weeks before trying it out? Do you mean that it scorches your skin, even though it has been weeks since you made it?
      Is the oil in a separate layer and do you see any white powdery chunks in your soap?
      It’s possible that the lye wasn’t completely dissolved into the milk.
      Those are a few questions and I might have more, but that should get us started trying to figure out what went wrong!

  68. Hanne says:

    How do you get your oils to 90-110 degrees? Do you heat in a glass container in a pot with a thermometer (like a homemade double boiler)? … That’s how I would probably do it… I cannot wait to try this! My baby is almost 8 months old now… Still breastfeeding but I am now going to religiously pump because I am so excited to make soap!!! (With it without the milk- but I know it really makes the skin soft)!!!

    • Hi Hanne! What I do is melt the solid oils like coconut, plus any shea/mango/cocoa/etc butter in the recipe. You can do that in a heatproof glass container in a pot, just like you described, or if you watch over it carefully, you can do that directly in a small saucepan over low heat. Once those are melted and you add them to your other oils, it usually brings the temperature up to a pretty good range. If it doesn’t, you could heat them up further in the glass container or pot. You don’t have to be super precise with temperature – there’s a really wide range that soap makers use. Some like to use room temperature oils, while others only soap when their oils are 120 to 130 degrees (F). So, you have a lot of leeway there! Good luck with your soap making! :)

  69. Mona says:

    Hello Jan

    Thanks for your following and answering.
    we followed all of these steps except step 11 !
    did you mean that we should put the soap for at least 4 weeks?without use it?
    and did you mean we should put it in room air or in The outside of the house?
    now talk to me , How long is the expiry date of the soap?
    when we put it outside of Freezer , it loose! is it no problem?
    thanks a lot dear.

    • Hi Mona! Yes, step number 11 is very important. If you use your soap right after making it, it will still be strong and harsh. You should put the soap away for at least 4 weeks. You can keep it in a room in your house (not outside). You want air to be able to move around it, so the water can evaporate out. As the water goes away, the bar gets harder and more gentle on your skin. Soap is usually good and won’t expire for around 1 year.

      If the soap is loose after a lot of days in the air and won’t get hard enough to cut, then you might not have mixed it enough. You could try cooking your soap to make it mix together better. This is a good site to tell you how to do that:
      http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/hot-process-hero-2/

      Let me know how it looking after some time in the air!

  70. Sonja says:

    What size acrylic mild do I need for this recipe? 3lbs? 5lbs?
    Thank you

  71. Betty Mulligan says:

    Thank you Jan for one of the most comprehensive soap making blogs I have ever read. I am new to soap-making and have been reading and accumulating information for a week or more (daily). I am all ready to begin but waiting for my oils and equipment to be delivered. This recipe will be my 1st batch recipe. Perfect ! I have never read about refrigerating or freezing but will try the freezing method. Thanks again for sharing.

  72. Erica Cornett says:

    Hello! I was wondering how many bars of soap does this recipe make? Thanks!!

    • Hi Erica! That depends on which mold you use. If the mold’s around 8 inches long and you cut each bar 1 inch wide, then you’d get 8 bars. If you cut each bar thicker, then you might 6 bars. If the ends got messed up and you had to trim a bit off, then cut 1 inch bars, you’d get 7 bars of soap. Generally for most of the batches on my site though, you can estimate 6 to 7 bars. (These are recipes that have around 28 to 31 oz of oil total in them.)

  73. Kanika says:

    Hi there,
    I’ve made your goat milk soap recipe many times before and I am getting to ready to make it again. I’ve been freezing milk fresh goat milk in 24 oz bags for months so that I can continue to make double batches. It seems as though you have changed your recipe from 12 oz of milk to 10 ounces of milk. Why did you change it? Is there anyway that you can tell me the old recipe so that I can stick with that? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Kanika! You can still use 12 ounces of milk, especially if you’ve been happy with it. After a while, I found that this recipe firms up and comes out of the mold faster if I use less milk, so reduced the amount I use. But, either 12 ounce or 10 ounces will work, just keep the lye and oil amounts as is.

  74. Jenn says:

    Can you replace olive oil of coconut oil?

  75. Alica says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! We have dairy, so I have access to lots of raw cows’ milk, and I’ve been itching to try making soap. Now that the taxes are off to the accountant (yay!) I can play a little bit. Have you ever added fragrance to your soaps?

  76. Kanika says:

    Okay great! I understand about it being a bit squishing coming out of the mold. Thanks for your help.

  77. Lisa says:

    I love your blog… gives me lots of info! My question is what happens if you scorch the goats milk while adding the lye? Will it still make soap?

  78. Sheila says:

    This looks great! I have been making soap for a few months now, and my family really likes the way it leaves our skin feeling. Much nicer than store bought. I was making some this morning, and I decided to use milk and then panicked at the way it reacted with the lye….. Looks like I’m ok. Whew! I did want to mention that I frequently use sunflower oil instead of olive oil, and I use lard and coconut oil instead of palm oil. I do this for a couple reasons. First is my concern over sustainability- it can be difficult to find palm oil that is sustainably harvested. The sunflower oil I do for a couple of reasons. It is much cheaper than olive oil, produces a less slimy lather, and has a very high vitamin e content, which helps prevent it from going rancid. I will sometimes use both, but sunflower is my go to, and I have had pretty good results. It would need to run through a lye calculator. This way I can find almost everything I need at my local Walmart in case I run out.

  79. Sheila says:

    BTW- love you blog. You have Greta info here, and I have you and wellness mama bookmarked. Thought I would also add that I love trying different oils out. My recipes are seldom simple! I love putting Shea butter in my soaps, as it makes them more nourishing. I also use avocado oil pretty often. The milk soap I made got some Mexican vanilla and cinnamon leaf EO added in, as well as a tablespoon of honey and a few drops of lavender after trace. I think it is going to smell yummy! I left a little in my crock pot, which is what I use to melt my oils and then add the lye to. It is dedicated- picked it up during the holidays for $13. I am going to HP that little bit so I can try it out!

  80. Janaki Sridhar says:

    Hi Jan
    I have been making cold process soaps. Going to try the milk soap tomorrow. Do you check the temperature of lye when it has fully dissolved in the milk? or you just add it to the oils that are at 90-100* F ? should the lye solution also be around 90-100*

    • Hi Janaki! Those are good temperatures to aim for. Some people aim for even lower temperatures, like in this post:
      http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/how-to-add-lye-to-milk-for-cold-process-soap/
      To be honest, I never check lye solution temperature, unless I’m trying to record it for a blog post – so those are very estimated numbers.
      Even if your milk/lye gets on the higher temperature side – the worst that can happen is that your soap may be tanner/browner colored.
      If the lye solution gets too cold though, you risk a false trace – where the butters/coconut oil/tallow etc (“hard” oils) start firming back up because of the cold and don’t mix in properly.
      If you’ve made cold process soap successfully before though, I think you’ll find milk soap just as flexible and easy. Happy soap making! :)

  81. hello, i found your tutorial is great, but i am curious how many bars can you produce with this recipe? i want to make a small amount of it since this will be my first time making soap. thank you

    • Hi Zitta! I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful! That depends on which mold you use. If the mold is around 8 inches long and you cut each bar 1 inch wide, then you’d get 8 bars. If you cut each bar thicker, then you might 6 bars. If the ends got messed up and you had to trim a bit off, then cut 1 inch bars, you’d get 7 bars of soap. Generally for most of the batches on my site though, you can estimate 6 to 7 bars. (These are recipes that have around 28 to 31 oz of oil total in them.)

  82. Alica says:

    I just made my first batch of soap last week, and I’m happy with how it turned out! I didn’t add anything to it this first time…wanted to see how it would turn out first…but I think I’ll try adding some essential oils next time. How much do you add to a batch this size? Another question would be…I used my immersion blender that my daughter uses to make smoothies…would you recommend NOT using it for food, since it’s been in contact with lye, even though it’s thoroughly cleaned? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Alicia,
      How exciting to have made your first batch of soap! Hooray!
      You can add essential oil to any soap recipe. For recipes the size of most on my site (about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs) (calculate weight by adding liquid + lye + oils) – then I use about 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) essential oil.
      You can use Bramble Berry’s fragrance calculator to get recommended amounts too:
      https://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Fragrance-Calculator.aspx
      I only use my immersion blender for soap making, though I do know that some soap makers use the same tools for food as well.
      The main thing I would NOT reuse for food, is the container that you measure straight lye into and also the container that you use to mix up your lye solution.
      Also, after many batches of soap, my crockpot has a lot of visible wear from the stick blender, so I’d not use food in that either.
      As far as the stick blender though, what’s left on it after mixing is just raw soap batter, which when left for 24 hours can be soaked and rinsed away like regular soap. So, as long as it’s been cleaned well, it’s a matter of what you feel comfortable with.

  83. Karyn Honey says:

    Hi Jan,
    I’m drying rose petals and want to make soap with them, but I’m a first-timer! Would this soap work with dried rose petals, or is there a better soap recipe to use? Also, is vanilla extract (used in baking) something you can add to soap!?
    Finally, just out of interest, do you find making soap more cost effective, compared with purchasing a similar soap from a shop?
    Thanks so much!
    Karyn (New Zealand)

    • Hi Karyn!

      You can use rose petals in most any soap recipe, when incorporated as an infused oil or infused liquid (tea). They won’t add scent or color to your soap, but some people feel the benefits remain in the soap. (I’m in the camp that believes they do too.)

      Here’s an example of where I used rose tea to make a batch of soap:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/rosa-rugosa-soap-recipe-palm-free/

      You could also infuse some of the oil with rose petals to use in the recipe. Here’s a post that tells how to make rose infused oil:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/rose-petal-salve-recipe/

      and in this recipe (at the Hobby Farms site instead of this one), I incorporated finely powdered dried rose petals (but be light-handed with those as they will turn dark over time):
      http://www.hobbyfarms.com/how-to-make-winter-rose-soap-2/

      Since this is a milk-based recipe, you can infuse your milk with rose petals before using, if you’d like.

      Vanilla extract won’t work in soap making. It’s alcohol based (which isn’t usually recommended unless you’re doing advanced transparent soap recipes) and the scent burns completely off in the soap making process. It’s hard to get a vanilla scent in soap unless you use vanilla absolute (somewhat cost prohibitive) or vanilla fragrance oil. If you use anything with vanilla in it, be aware that it turns soap various shades of tan to dark brown and plan accordingly for that.

      Compared to common inexpensive store-bought soaps, soap making isn’t more cost effective. If you compare to ready-made organic or other handmade soaps, then the playing field evens out. It’s also nice to know exactly what’s in your bar of soap – no mystery ingredients! But, overall, I don’t consider soap making a frugal hobby or past-time. There’s some investment up-front in getting the equipment and ingredients. I liken it to raising our own food though. It’s not really more cost effective for us to do so, but it’s leaps ahead in quality of anything we can buy in the store and we can be 100% sure of what we’re exposing our family to.

      Good luck with your soap making adventures! :)

  84. Brett says:

    Just finished making our second batch. Just wanted to drop you a note and say THANK YOU!

    This is an awesome recipe

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting it

  85. Kaitlyn says:

    Hi Jan, I read through your recipe and I’m eager to try it, but I’m curious about how many bars of soap you’d get out of this recipe. And, would I need a 2lb wooded soap mold, or 5lb, or neither?

    • Hi Kaitlyn! To get a ballpark idea of what size of mold you need for a soap recipe, you can add the water + lye + oil weights together.
      So, for this recipe:
      10 oz milk + 4 oz lye (you can round) + 31 oz oil = 45 oz total which will = 2 lbs and 13 oz. So, a 3 lb mold would work out great, or you could use a 2.5 lb mold and if there’s a little bit extra, you could pour into an individual mold or two.
      The mold I use is 8 inches in length, which means if I cut 1 inch bars, I’d have 8 bars. If I cut them a smidge wider or trim off the ends, I’d likely end up with 7 bars.
      So, it will depend on the size of your mold, but that’s a general idea of how many you’ll get – around 7 bars.
      Good luck with your soap! :)

  86. Franka says:

    Hi Jan
    I have a bag of instant full cream cow milk powder with the intentions of making milk and honey soap can you recommend a recipe I can easily follow…?

    Thanking you in advance,
    Franka Nicole

    • Hi Franka!
      I have a milk & honey soap recipe here you might like:
      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/milk-and-honey-soap-recipe-cold-or-hot-process/
      though you can add powdered milk to almost any other soap recipe that you’d like.
      To substitute powdered milk, use distilled water instead of frozen milk to make the lye solution and blend around 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of powdered milk directly into the warmed oils with your stick blender, right before adding in the lye solution.
      Another alternative is to reconstitute the powdered milk so it’s a liquid milk, freeze it and proceed with the recipe as normal, using the frozen milk to make your lye solution.
      Then a third option is to reserve about 1 oz of the water from a recipe, using the rest of the water to make the lye solution. Mix the reserved 1 oz of water with 1 tablespoon of milk powder until very smooth. Once your soap reaches light trace, you can stir it in along with honey before pouring in the mold.
      I hope one of those ways works for you and good luck with your soap! :)

  87. My mother and I have just started making soap using your recipe. Thank you for making it super simple! But we are unsure just how much essential oil to use. What do you recommend for stronger and weaker fragrance?

  88. Jolene says:

    I haven’t been able to find a recipe using “caviar” from a vanilla bean (or beans). I know most people use oils but is it possible to use the caviar from vanilla beans instead? If so, do you know if I need to alter the recipe at all, and how?

    • Hi Jolene! I’ve scraped out a vanilla bean to use in soap before and love how it turned out. I went to look for the recipe on my site to link to it, but realize I never put that one up! I’ll have to add that to my to-do list.
      My soap had cocoa butter and I used cream in it, but you could really add vanilla bean to any soap recipe, even the one in this post for milk soap.
      Since it’s an additive used in small amounts (like oatmeal, honey, poppy seeds, etc) it won’t alter the overall recipe in any other way.
      You do want to keep the amount of vanilla bean “caviar” on the low side or your soap could turn out scratchy.
      To add it to a recipe: make your lye solution and measure out your oils. Before adding the lye solution to the oils, add the vanilla bean scrapings and stick blend a few seconds to make sure they’re blended well.
      Then add the lye solution and make the soap as normal.
      Sadly, the vanilla fragrance is lost in the soapmaking process, but it does give the finished soap a cool look and texture. For a natural vanilla fragrance, you could use vanilla absolute (it takes a lot though so can get costly, plus will turn the soap brown).

  89. Debbie says:

    Hi. I’m interested in making milk soap using a glycerin base that is already made. Do you know what proportion of milk to base I should use? Thank you

    • Hi Debbie! Generally, it’s better to buy a glycerin base (melt & pour soap) that’s already made with milk, like this one:
      https://www.brambleberry.com/SFIC-Goat-Milk-Melt-And-Pour-P3184.aspx
      instead of adding fresh milk, since it’s more likely to spoil.
      I’ve heard of a few people adding powdered milk to melt & pour soap though, but am not sure on ratios or how long shelf life would be since I haven’t done that personally.
      One site you could check out that has lots of melt & pour information is SoapQueen.com. They’re probably among the best experts who would know more about whether you can use milk in melt & pour soaps.

  90. Debbie says:

    Hi. Thanks. I was planning to add breastmilk but this may beconfidential being my knowledge base. My husband said I’m going too far. Haha

    • Hi Debbie! Mother’s milk soap is actually more popular than your husband might think. :) I get questions about it fairly often! You can use breastmilk in pretty much any milk soap recipe & treat it the same way as regular cow or goat’s milk.

  91. Deb says:

    Hi Guys,
    I have a problem whereas my olive oil changes every mica colour i use eg: blue turns grey, mauve turns brown TD turns yellowish. Do you have any suggestions as im sure the yellow in the olive oil overpowering my micas.

    Thanks :)

  92. Annie says:

    Is lye an absolute, or do you have a recipe without it?

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